To buy or not to buy?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by arkie_3_fan, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. arkie_3_fan

    arkie_3_fan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 77

    I've been hanging around here for a while and doing some reading. Finally decided to ask for some opinions.
    My yard is 5 - 6 acres of mostly bahia grass. Currently I mow roughly 1.5 acres once a week (the rest is cut for hay 2 - 3 times a year). This usually takes me at least a full 3 hours of mowing on the 42" Craftsman rider. Sick of spending that much time mowing, I'm looking to get a zero turn.
    A friend of mine has a Grasshopper 322D (61" deck) with around 800 hours on it. It's in pretty decent condition and comes with the large Grasshopper powervac with the metal hopper. The price he's asking is $5,000 which seems to be a pretty fair deal. It could stand to have some new tires but that's a relatively minor issue.
    The only problem is that I don't even have a trailer large enough to haul the mower if I was to get it. My current trailer (used to haul ATV's mostly) is a 5x14. In addition, the mower is certainly more mower than I'd ever need, if there really is such a thing as too much mower.
    With all of that being said, I have Hustler and Exmark dealers locally, and a Bad Boy dealer 20 miles away. All of these have high end residential and/or low end commercial mowers in the $5000 - $6500 range. Would I be better off to get one of these new in a 50" - 54" and have the warranty? The Fastrak with a 54" deck and 20hp Honda would do everything I need in a mower.
    Or should I just see if I can talk my buddy down to $4500 and then put the extra money towards a trailer and new tires for the mower? I have access to trailers that I can borrow if I do need transport the larger mower. In addition, I could pick up a little extra cash this fall by picking up leaves with the powervac.
    What to do. What to do.
  2. DT Lawn Care

    DT Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 850

    $5,000 doesn't sounds like a very good deal, I've seen decent ones on eBay go for 2-2,500 before.
  3. sharpcuts

    sharpcuts LawnSite Member
    from NE OK
    Posts: 78

    Just my opinion.... I'd get a 48" or 52" Exmark Quest. It's a homeowner mower with a commercial twist. Got a good warranty. Would mow your lawn in no time flat. Homeowners don't realize how much faster you can cut a lawn with these things.

    I remember when I used to sell mowers we'd get homeowners in there & they'd be like " I have a 50" lawn tractor & it takes me 3 hours to mow my lawn, I want at least a 60"."
    Remember, the bigger the mower, the harder it will be to get into those small places.

    Go test drive that Grasshopper, then go demo a new mower. That might just make up your mind for you.
  4. arkie_3_fan

    arkie_3_fan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 77

    Due to some family issues the past couple of weeks, I haven't had any chance to do my homework with the local dealers.
    Any idea what price range I might be looking at with the Quest, Hustler Fastrak and Fastrak Super Duty? Something in the 48" - 54" range?
    For some reason the zero turn mowers really hold their value around here. You just practically never see a used one for sale. Even in the classifieds of the state newspaper there may only be one or two every few weeks.
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    Test drive the Grasshopper and see how it does. Bahia can be a mess especially if it's wet and not all mowers cut it the same way. Some clump it up and others cut it clean. The only for sure thing is no matter which mower you buy there will always be clippings left on top. Lots of them.
  6. arkie_3_fan

    arkie_3_fan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 77

    Yeah. I'm not worried about the clippings being left on top. About the only area of my yard that I'm particular about is the very front where a little zoysia grass is getting established. I'm hoping that it will eventually choke out most of the bahia grass in the area right around the house.
    Just an example of how hard it is to find used mowers in this area... The only commercial mower listed in the classifieds of the state's largest newspaper is a Walker GHS with Kubota Diesel (pretty much the same motor as the Grasshopper I'm looking at) with a 48" deck, 10 bushel hopper and 2000 hours on the machine. Asking price is $5700.

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Posts: 5,225

    grasshoppers are nice mowers and it is good to buy from your friend because you know if he treats his equipment well or not. i would try to get it for less. also you could wait a bit and see if any more deals come up because your old mower still works so you have time to shop and get a good deal
  8. arkie_3_fan

    arkie_3_fan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 77

    Well, I stopped by the Exmark dealer during lunch and got a couple of prices.
    The 22hp 48" Quest is $4500 and the 24hp 52" Quest is $4750.
    Lazer Z with 60" deck is around $9000.
    He also mentioned a Lazer Z that he's taking in on trade this weekend. Said he'd be asking less than $3000 for it. The mower is a 48" with around 300 hours on it. The deck bearings were replaced earlier this summer. I know the guy that is trading in the mower and he keeps his stuff in tip top shape and his yard looks like carpet so I know the mower hasn't been abused.
  9. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,273

    That lazer z that the dealer will be taking in might be a very good option. You can even put the collection system on it for another $2000+/-, so for about the same price as the grasshopper, you would have a newer, more managable mower.

    Howerver, I wouldn't really suggest the quest as it is a residential mower, even though you are just a homeowner, you are mowing 1.5 acres each week. So if you want the mower to last long, the quest is probably not the option for you. The Lazer or the Grasshopper will out last the quest with ease.
  10. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,171

    Sounds like you found something good. If it has a Kohler or Kawasaki engine, why would you look any farther? I wouldn't.

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